Marijuana Soon to Protect NFL Players from Concussions?

Despite the controversy surrounding the legality of the cannabis plant, one drug company hopes to soon use medical marijuana to protect NFL players from repetitive concussions, which are shown to cause symptoms on par with those seen in patients with Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.

In order to even commercialize such a miracle cure, companies would first have to obtain an exclusive license from the federal government for a medical marijuana patent, currently held by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But in 2013, Dean Petkanas, CEO of the New York-based company KannaLife Sciences, got his hands on the license in order to bring a marijuana-based neuroprotective drug to the market.

"We’ve taken the preclinical approach so far to date on our first indication which is hepatic encephalopathy, which is a brain-liver disorder, where you do have neuronal degradation and degeneration, oxidative stress," Petkanas told Fox News. "So we felt that we could look at that in parallel with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) another brain-related disease, and see if neuroprotection would indeed be afforded across that panel."

CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by brain trauma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), usually seen among athletes like NFL players. Though its symptoms include memory decline, changes in mood and behavior, depressions and irritability, CTE is different from Alzheimer’s disease. Signs of the disease aren’t usually noticeable until decades later (ages 40-50), so it’s often not diagnosed until death, which reveals accumulation of Tau protein in the brain.

Football is obviously a contact sport, but Fox News reports that to date more than 4,500 retired players have sued the NFL for supposedly downplaying and covering up that they knew the game could cause long-term neurological damage due to repetitive concussions.

That’s where Petkanas’ company comes in, hoping to develop cannabidiol-based (CBD) drugs – a form of medical marijuana – that can protect the brains of such athletes.

KannaLife Sciences is only in preclinical trials, so there’s no telling if and when NFL players can hope for a solution; but when NIH first obtained its patent, called "Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants" in 2005, they provided scientific evidence that certain properties of cannabis compounds could limit neurological damage following stroke or trauma, and help treat neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.

Experts did bring up the issue of the marijuana showing up on the league’s drug tests, but Petkanas notes that the drug reportedly has no psychoactive effects, so it wouldn’t be an issue. His company plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA in early 2015.

Tags medical marijuana, football, concussions

Read more: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/10224/20141111/marijuana-soon-to-protect-nfl-players-from-concussions.htm#ixzz3IpodGdLP

NORML, Feds Agree On Benefits Of Cannabis

By: Jeremy Daw

NORML, Feds Agree On Benefits Of Cannabis, Source: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/800px-Colorado_Supreme_Court_courtroom.jpg

The third day of hearings on the constitutionality of cannabis’ federal Schedule I status presented further bizarre twists, as both federal prosecutors and NORML’s defense team appeared at times to agree on the medical benefits of cannabis.

In one early incident, Assistant US Attorney Richard Bender, in continued cross-examination of Dr. Philip Denney, failed to rebut Denney’s testimony that plant-based cannabis effectively treated chronic pain. Instead, Bender attempted to show a marginal benefit to using dronabinol (AKA Marinol, which is synthetic THC taken orally in pill form) compared to cannabis and at one point seemed to get a little carried away with his line of questioning. Directing Denney’s attention to the results of a study which showed that both cannabis and Marinol proved effective in treating chronic pain but that the effects of Marinol lasted longer, Bender asked, “So, both smoked marijuana and oral THC were effective, but Marinol was a little better because it lasted longer?”

Denney answered yes, and Bender continued, apparently unaware that he had just admitted that cannabis has medical value.

Later in the same cross-examination Bender slipped again, making a similar admission in a more humorous way. Asking Denney about research showing the ability of cannabinoids to protect brain cells from damage during traumatic injuries, Bender asked, in a somewhat mocking tone, “So, if you’re going to have a traumatic brain injury, you’d better do it under the influence of marijuana?” Denney responded with an emphatic “yes,” provoking laughter in the courtroom.

But perhaps the greatest damage to the government’s case came as a result of an apparent lapse of attention on the part of the prosecution. NORML attorney Zenia Gilg managed to elicit numerous responses from Denney on the nature of the US government’s Investigative New Drug (IND) program, under which US patients receive free tins of government-grown cannabis every month to treat severe illnesses, before Bender seemed to stir, stand and state a valid objection.

It was apparently too late. Calling the objection “belated,” Judge Kimberly Mueller overruled it.

This blunder proved crippling for the prosecution, as Gilg was then able to elicit further testimony from Denney about the IND program, and in particular the results of a study conducted by Dr. Ethan Russo and others in 2002 which showed remarkable long-term success treating severely ill patients who had proven resistant to traditional therapies, and with a minimum of undesirable side effects – all at the behest of the US government.

Because the hearing also concerns the question of whether the medical use of cannabis is “currently accepted” in the US, Denney also testified regarding polls conducted of physicians about their professional opinions of cannabis. While Bender quibbled over details of a poll by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine showing 76% approval of a medical marijuana recommendation in a hypothetical patient, he left entirely uncontested testimony about another physician poll conducted by WebMD which showed 69% support for the medical use of cannabis – again apparently conceding a point which is logically central to the question of whether cannabis belongs in Schedule I.

Leaf co-founder Chris Conrad also took the stand as an expert witness, cross-examined by prosecutor Samuel Wong, who attempted to contradict the notions that cannabis had a known and reproducible chemistry and that it could be subjected to quality controls. Evoking the use of pesticides and other chemicals, Wong tried to suggest that use of such chemicals would lead to cannabis patients inhaling toxic substances. But Conrad pointed out that that was not necessarily the case, as many such sprays were designed to break down over time. Wong erred even worse when he tried to imply that quality control standards for cannabis didn’t exist, which opened the door for Conrad to introduce the medical cannabis quality control standards recommended by the American Herbal Pharmacopeia.

Still, it was ultimately Dr. Denney who most succinctly summarized the tenor of the day. “I am perplexed,” he testified, “as to why there’s even a debate. Cannabis does have medical value.”

CONTINUE READING…

How To Save Someone With Brain Swelling In A Coma

Ryan GallagherEric Fuller

2 mins ·

How To Save Someone With Brain Swelling In A Coma

My 10 year old brother is dead because the doctors would not accept the Hash and Bud in Colorado for a Coma patient. So I have since then found ways to purify it, and change it so it is not illegal. If you don’t believe he is dead, I don’t care that you don’t believe me, but here is the obituary: http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Mason-Wight&lc=4566&pid=165185158&mid=5558426

If you ever have a family member dying in a coma, go ahead and use this:

Caryophyllene,. It is a Marijuana Terpene used in the Perfume industry to give things a Marijuana smell, and recently I learned that it actually connects with the CB2 (Cannabinoid) receptor, even without any Cannabinoiids. So Caryophyllene has cannabis effects, even when taken outside or without Cannabis. Sources of Carryophyllene include Uziza Pepper 50% of Essential oil) and Indian Bay Leaves (25% of Essential Oil). So taking either of these things can and will increase the effects of the Cannabinoids.

Indole-3-Carbinol can be found in many common vegetables, and it breaks down to activate the CB2 receptor.

Common Rue Essential Oil activates the CB2 receptor.

Then I also learned more about Hash making. Remember when I said that you could use the Concrete making method and the Absolute making method from Dr. Atomic and the Perfume world? Well, there are steps you can take after that to ensure that your Cannabinoids are the BEST they can be.

First you do just like before. Using Lemonene or some other non-Polar solvent, make your Cannabis extract. Then add some kind of Alcohol (Ethanol, Isopropyl or Methanol) let that sit and eventually the Lemonene and Alcohol will separate. Use a Separatory funnel to separate these layers. St this point you have Cannabis absolute, aka medical grade hash in alcohol.

If you add a few drops of Sulfuric acid at this time, all the Cannabinoids will turn into THC Cannabinoids, and all the THC cannabinoids will become pure Delta-9-THC. That method was in the Dr. Atiomic book, I just did not add it before.

There are 2 other methods you can use at this point that I recently found out about.

When you have the medical grade hash, you can treat it with Acetic Acid instead of Sulfuric acid, and this will make THC-0-Acetate, which is a little bit stronger than THC.

or, You can extract the THC in Pyridine instead of alcohol, the add Phosphoryl Chloride, this will make THC-O-Phosphate which is weaker than THC, but can be used in hospitals easier, because it is water soluble which makes it injectable.

I will stop here now because I have made a wall of text, but I have been doing research for like 2 straight days with only like 8 hours of sleep total. So I can continue with this in a few days or weeks.

I decided not to wait a few days or weeks, I am going to continue the Chemistry stuff now.

When I was researching Nootropics a while ago I found what is called "Picamilon", this is a Nootropic which you can buy in America and they actually prescribe it to people in Russia. What it is is GABA powder and Niacin powder, these are both Amino Acids so they both have the properties of both an acid and a base depending on the situation. So during my research over the past few days, I decided to find out how Picamilon is made, and I found something out that may lead to some new Nootropics. Picamilon is just about the easiest Chemical reaction in the world. From what I learned, when you mix to Amino Acids together and apply heat, they will release H20 and form what is called a "Peptide Bond". So simply by putting GABA powder and Niacin powder in water (in equal amounts) and evaporating all the water away, you are creating "Picamilon". This substance has the ability to cross the blood brain barrier better than regular GABA, so it has a much stronger effect on those receptors. But it’s not hard to make at all. So I am going to make some of that, and then maybe get some other Amino Acids and see what happens. Usually people wouldn’t "invent" new molecules and eat them, but I am following in the footsteps of Sasha Shulgin. I will get some Amino Acids sometime in the next month or 2. Oilahuasca and Marijuasca come first.

I will continue this again later with Hydrogen Bonds and stuff.

I just want to say something that might help people understand this better. And I will help people understand even more when I get into the bonds. But if you want to understand Chemistry at its most BASIC, here is a good thought exercise.

First, accept that Chemical reactions are all just Magnets figuring out what they are attracted to. Chemistry is ALL ABOUT magnets, everything is polar or non-polar, acid or base, etc. and these things are basically all just magnetic responses that chemicals have to each other.

Now, understanding that it is all about Magnets, let’s make it more clear with an example. Water. H2O. If you were to take 1 Hydrogen from H2O, suddenly it would be Hydroxide which is pretty much the STRONGEST most reactive base known to man. If you add a Hydroxide material (ex: Calcium Hydroxide) to water, the Hydrogen in the water becomes charged with a negative polarity and can be used to do things like extractions or pickling. Acids are the opposite of that. their Hydrogen is positively charged and is waiting connect to some other molecule. Acids usually have lots of Oxygen ready to attach magnetically to Hydrogen, Hydroxide or Hydrocarbons. If you add an acid to water, it charges the hydrogen in the water with a positive charge, and this can be used for extractions or as cleaning agents.

And when an acid and a base come together, they form a salt. Salts are usually neutral. And water is kind of like a salt, since it is Hydrogen and Oxygen in a higher concentration that in OH (Hydroxide). It is "acidic" hydrogen mixed with "basic" oxygen. It is not actually a salt, but noticing what it is made of can help you understand the magnet concept.

Ok, so as I mentioned before, THC can be treated with Acetic Acid in order to make THC-O-Acetate which is a little stronger by weight than THC itself. This can be done with other things as well. Most people have heard of Heroine and Morphine. Heroine is the Acetate form of Morphine, some people even make it by using vinegar which is about 5% acetic acid.

If you have heard of Choline, it improves brain function and promotes the creation of "AcetylCholine" in the brain, which is the specific thing that regulates dreaming. I am not positive, but I am pretty sure that AcetylCholine is the Acetic Acid treated form of Choline.

I am pretty sure that this process can be done with other things as well, like Catnip extract or possibly things like Kava which has similar effects to Marijuana.

Now, let’s look at a THC Molecule.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrocannabinol#mediaviewer/File:Tetrahydrocannabinol.svg

On it are a bunch of Hydrocarbons, a Hydroxide and 2 Hydrogens. Meaning, any Oxygen, Fluorin
e or Nitrogen could alter it pretty completely. So I wonder if anyone has ever tried pickling their THC (adding Calcium Hydroxide aka Edible Lime to it). Or has anyone ever let Marijuana sit in a Hydrogen Peroxide solution, with maybe an Amino Acid? This could Change it completely also. Or letting it sit in some kind of Nitrogen solution. Morpholine is a Nitrogen and Oxygen, when someone adds morpholine to THC we are going to see some cool new medical applications, maybe.

Also, since Marijuana obviously forms Isomers with Acids (Sulfuric acid and Acetic acid), it might be worth testing other acids. I am pretty sure no one has ever treated THC with Tartaric acid, which is used in some medical applications. And I am almost positive it has never been treated with Malic acid, which is used in some foods and beverages, as well as occurring naturally.

THC could have all kinds of different forms that no one has even tried yet. And I am pretty sure no one has made any kind of 5-MeO-THC or anything like that yet, and from what I understand all it takes it some Methanol and something to activate the reaction in order to Methylate the THC into some X-MeO-form, unless I am mistaken.

Mason Wight Obituary – Olinger Andrews Caldwell Gibson Chapel | Castle Rock CO

Obituary for Mason Wight, Mason Ryan Wight was born into this world in Dallas, Texas on December…

obits.dignitymemorial.com

Pot oil “miracle in a bottle” cure could land mom in jail

VIDEO HERE

 

In March, one mother traveled to Colorado

to get a bottle of cannabis oil in hopes of easing the agonizing pain her 15-year-old son has lived with for the past three years.

What she calls a mother’s instinct may land her in jail, reports CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.

"I broke the law, but I did it to save my son," Angela Brown said.

For years, the Minnesota mom searched for a way to end her son’s chronic pain.

Trey appeared healthy, but a baseball accident in 2011 led to a build-up of pressure inside his head.

A line drive to Trey’s head caused bleeding in an area of his brain the size of a golf ball. Doctors feared he wouldn’t survive.

But when he finally woke from a medically induced coma, his mother said the old Trey was gone.

"He’s the shell of himself," Angela said. "He’s in so much pain, and that causes depression."

With depression came daily migraines, muscle spasms and uncontrollable outbursts.

"I cry like every day before I go to bed," Trey said.

And the pain is intense.

"Like my brain is about to blow up, cause there is so much pressure," he said.

To try to ease his pain, Trey’s parents tried 18 different medications, but little helped. Angela believes some of the drugs’ side effects even made her son suicidal.

"He told me, ‘mom, I don’t want to live, I can’t do this anymore,’" Angela said. "It’s not fair, it’s not fair. I have been so angry."

But through out it all, she’s tried to be as positive as possible.

"People keep saying, ‘Oh you’re so strong,’" she said. "No I’m not! I begged him and I said, ‘We will find an answer.’"

Desperate, she began researching the benefits of medical marijuana. The family drove to Colorado and obtained a bottle of cannabis oil. It’s legal there, but not in Minnesota.

Angela said after a few drops, Trey’s pain melted away.

"It was a miracle in a bottle," she said.

But the miracle didn’t last.

"It stopped the pain and stopped the muscle spasms," Trey said. "It was helping me go to school until it then got taken away and then school was really hard again."

It was taken away when his teachers asked why he was doing better in school.

"I said ‘Well, I gave him an oil that we’d gotten from Colorado,’" Angela recalled. "’It’s derived from a marijuana plant.’ And then you could feel the tension in the room."

A week later, the sheriff’s department confiscated the oil and county prosecutors charged Angela with child endangerment and requiring child protection. If convicted, she could face up two years in prison and $6,000 in fines.

"It’s asinine," Angela said. "I didn’t hurt my son; I was trying to prevent him from being hurt."

While she recognizes the substance is illegal in Minnesota, she defended herself saying it’s "not illegal in other states."

CBS News reached out to the county prosecutor, law enforcement and Trey’s school district.

All declined requests for an interview citing the on going case.

If Angela does go to jail, she fears most for her children.

"Who would take care of my kids?" she asked. "My boys are mama’s boys."

As much as they need her, she admitted she needs them just the same.

In May, Minnesota became the 22nd state to approve specific forms of medicinal marijuana. But the law doesn’t go into effect until next year.

The Browns said they can’t afford to wait.

U.S. Representative Yarmuth co-sponsors bill to decriminalize cannabis oil

Posted: Sep 22, 2014 4:54 PM CST Updated: Sep 22, 2014 5:37 PM CST

By Lawrence Smith – email

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Right now, it’s against federal law to use cannabis oil – a marijuana extract – even for medical purpose, but Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth is co-sponsoring a bill that would change that.

If the bill passes, using cannabis oil for medical purposes would no longer put you in danger of landing at the federal courthouse facing drug charges.

Suzanne De Gregorio’s son, Alex, suffers from autism and epilepsy.

She believes cannabis oil can help control the seizures that have hindered his development.

"Children with epilepsy, they’re finding that it can calm the seizures," she said.

Suzanne is using cannabis oil – or CBD oil – right now to help control the after-effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer.

It’s legal because the oil imported from overseas, but Suzanne wants to see more research before trying it on her son.

"This is for me. I don’t give it to him because you really need a neurologists involvement," she said.

Kentucky has approved research into CBD oil for treatment of seizures, but the trials have stalled because the federal government still considers it a controlled substance.

For her son’s sake, De Gregorio is trying to change that.

"He’s suffered tremendously in his life. I mean the pain, the screams. You wouldn’t believe it. And I promised him when he was very little I’m going to find am answer. I’m going to make this better for you somehow, some way," she said.

Now Rep. John Yarmuth (D-3rd Dist.) has signed onto a bill being pushed by De Gregorio that would decriminalize CBD oil and hemp for medical use.

"The idea that we as a federal government have classified hemp in the same category that we classify heroin makes absolutely no sense, and it’s preventing some very, very important therapies from reaching many of our needy citizens," said Yarmuth.

The bill is called the Charlotte’s Web Act; named after a Colorado girl, Charlotte Figi, whose seizures led to development of a non-intoxicating marijuana extract.

"I believe this could be that answer. I hope it is. I want at least have the right to find out," said De Gregorio.

Yarmuth says the bill will not likely be considered until the next session of Congress. Supporters say they’ll keep pushing.

CONTINUE READING…

Colorado attorney general backs firing of medical-marijuana patient

By John Ingold
The Denver Post

The state attorney general’s office says Coloradans do not have a right to use marijuana off-the-job, siding with a satellite television company in its firing of a medical-marijuana patient.

In a brief filed with the state Supreme Court last month, the Colorado attorney general’s office argues that giving workers a right to use marijuana off-duty "would have a profound and detrimental impact on employers in the state."

"Contrary to popular perception, Colorado has not simply legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes," state attorneys write in the brief. "Instead, its citizens have adopted narrowly drawn constitutional amendments that decriminalize small amounts of marijuana."

The Colorado Court of Appeals — the state’s second-highest court — last year upheld Dish Network’s firing of a quadriplegic medical-marijuana patient for a positive drug test. Though there is no allegation that Brandon Coats was stoned at work, the company said it has a zero-tolerance policy on marijuana.

Coats say his off-the-job marijuana use should be protected by Colorado’s Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute, which prevents companies from firing employees for doing things outside of work — like smoking cigarettes — that are legal. Dish Network argues that marijuana use can’t be considered lawful while cannabis remains illegal federally.

In its brief supporting Dish Network, the state attorney general’s office says zero-tolerance policies ensure that employees are able to perform their jobs competently. Requiring employers to prove that workers are stoned on the job before they can be fired would require companies to conduct "intrusive investigations into the personal life of an employee."

"Simply put, zero tolerance policies provide businesses with an efficient means of avoiding difficult employment decisions and even litigation," the attorney general’s brief states.

Coats’ case is the first time Colorado’s highest court has taken up questions about the scope of marijuana legalization in the state, and it has drawn at least six outside groups filing briefs in support of either Coats or Dish.

The Colorado Mining Association, the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association and the Colorado Civil Justice League — which claims an allegiance with several businesses and groups including the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce — have filed briefs on behalf of Dish. The Colorado Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association and the Patient and Caregivers Rights Litigation Project have filed briefs supporting Coats.

The Supreme Court has not yet announced when it will hear the case.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, jingold@denverpost.com or twitter.com/john_ingold

Read more: Colorado attorney general backs firing of medical-marijuana patient – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_25897526/colorado-attorney-general-backs-firing-medical-marijuana-patient#ixzz33hxw3Xnp
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Would The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Actually Stop Medical Marijuana Raids?

 

marijuana leaf

Last week’s House vote against federal interference with state laws allowing medical use of marijuana was a big deal politically, reflecting growing Republican support for federalism in this area. But it’s not clear that the amendment, assuming it is included in the appropriations bill approved by the Senate and signed by the president, will accomplish what its backers hope. Here is the text of the amendment, which was introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.):

None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Prior to the vote on the amendment, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), chief co-sponsor, summed up its purpose this way:

This is essentially saying, look, if you are following state law, you are a legal resident doing your business under state law, the feds just can’t come in and bust you and bust the doctors and bust the patient. It is more than half the states. So you don’t have to have any opinion about the value of marijuana. This doesn’t change any laws. This doesn’t affect one law, just lists the states that have already legalized it only for medical purposes, only medical purposes, and says, “Federal government, in those states, in those places, you can’t bust people.”

Yet if the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrests a patient in Colorado for growing marijuana and the U.S. attorney prosecutes him, that does not, strictly speaking, “prevent” that state from “implementing” its law decriminalizing cultivation of cannabis for medical use. The DEA and the U.S. attorney are enforcing the federal ban on marijuana; they are not compelling Colorado to punish behavior its voters have decided to no longer treat as a crime. Arguably the same could be said for raids on state-licensed dispensaries, although enough of those would shut down commercial distribution of marijuana to patients, effectively preventing the state from implementing its law aimed at giving patients an alternative to home cultivation.

There is even more room for interpretation in states, such as California and Washington, where the legal status of businesses distributing medical marijuana is unclear. In those cases federal officials maintain that dispensaries are not authorized by state law, while state and local officials disagree among themselves about what the law allows. Which reading of the law does the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment require the feds to follow?

During a telebriefing on Friday, Farr seemed to acknowledge that it leaves some wiggle room for the Justice Department. “This isn’t a finely written policy yet,” Farr said. “This is a statement of congressional intent that [the] DEA [should] back off on these issues. We will have to continue to reconcile federal policy with state policy.” Still, he said, “this had strong, bipartisan support,” and “the language, I think, is very simple and very clear, and that makes it a lot easier to implement. We’ll always have oversight as to implementation.” Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance added that “legislative intent matters,” and “I think intent was very clear from the excellent floor speeches.”

CONTINUE READING…

Limited CBD bill becomes law in Kentucky

State Alert Header Logo State Alert Header Title
Limited CBD bill becomes law in Kentucky

Medical marijuana bills die as legislative session ends

Dear Sheree,

The Kentucky Legislature adjourned yesterday, ending its work for the year. Sadly, although the House Health and Welfare Committee approved an effective medical marijuana bill in February, it was not called for a vote in the House.

Legislators did make an effort to help some seriously ill patients who could benefit from cannabidiol (“CBD,” a non-psychoactive component of marijuana). On Thursday, April 10, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law a proposal that is intended to allow patients to use CBD if directed to do so by a physician. The new law went into effect immediately with his signature, but, unfortunately, it is unlikely that it will actually result in patients being able to access CBD.

Despite concerns about access, and the fact that this legislation excludes the vast majority of medical marijuana patients, it is still a positive step forward. For more information on this new law, please see our summary of S.B. 124.

Sincerely,

Matt Simon's signature blue
Matt Simon

Matt Simon
Legislative Analyst
Marijuana Policy Project

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Studying Marijuana and Its Loftier Purpose

Tikkun Olam, a medical marijuana farm in Israel, blends the high-tech and the spiritual.

By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: January 1, 2013

 

SAFED, Israel — Among the rows of plants growing at a government-approved medical marijuana farm in the Galilee hills in northern Israel, one strain is said to have the strongest psychoactive effect of any cannabis in the world. Another, rich in anti-inflammatory properties, will not get you high at all.

Marijuana is illegal in Israel, but farms like this one, at a secret location near the city of Safed, are at the cutting edge of the debate on the legality, benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis. Its staff members wear white lab coats, its growing facilities are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for controlling light and humidity, and its grounds are protected by security cameras and guards.

But in addition to the high-tech atmosphere, there is a spiritual one. The plantation, Israel’s largest and most established medical marijuana farm — and now a thriving commercial enterprise — is imbued with a higher sense of purpose, reflected by the aura of Safed, an age-old center of Jewish mysticism, as well as by its name, Tikkun Olam, a reference to the Jewish concept of repairing or healing the world.

There is an on-site synagogue in a trailer, a sweet aroma of freshly harvested cannabis that infuses the atmosphere and, halfway up a wooded hillside overlooking the farm, a blue-domed tomb of a rabbinic sage and his wife.

In the United States, medical marijuana programs exist in 18 states but remain illegal under federal law. In Israel, the law defines marijuana as an illegal and dangerous drug, and there is still no legislation regulating its use for medicinal purposes.

Yet Israel’s Ministry of Health issues special licenses that allow thousands of patients to receive medical marijuana, and some government officials are now promoting the country’s advances in the field as an example of its pioneering and innovation.

“I hope we will overcome the legal obstacles for Tikkun Olam and other companies,” Yuli Edelstein, the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs, told journalists during a recent government-sponsored tour of the farm, part of Israel’s effort to brand itself as something beyond a conflict zone. In addition to helping the sick, he said, the effort “could be helpful for explaining what we are about in this country.”

Israelis have been at the vanguard of research into the medicinal properties of cannabis for decades.

In the 1960s, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam and his colleague Yechiel Gaoni at the Weizmann Institute of Science isolated, analyzed and synthesized the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Later, Professor Mechoulam deciphered the cannabinoids native to the brain. Ruth Gallily, a professor emerita of immunology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied another main constituent of cannabis — cannabidiol, or CBD — considered a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety agent.

When Zach Klein, a former filmmaker, made a documentary on medical marijuana that was broadcast on Israeli television in 2009, about 400 Israelis were licensed to receive the substance. Today, the number has risen to about 11,000.

Mr. Klein became devoted to the subject and went to work for Tikkun Olam in research and development. “Cannabis was used as medicine for centuries,” he said. “Now science is telling us how it works.”

Israeli researchers say cannabis can be beneficial for a variety of illnesses and conditions, from helping cancer patients relieve pain and ease loss of appetite to improving the quality of life for people with post-traumatic stress disorder and neuropsychological conditions. The natural ingredients in the plant, they say, can help with digestive function, infections and recovery after a heart attack.

The marijuana harvest, from plants that can grow over six feet tall, is processed into bags of flowers and ready-rolled cigarettes. There are also cannabis-laced cakes, cookies, candy, gum, honey, ointments and oil drops. The strain known as Eran Almog, which has the highest concentration of THC, is recommended for severe pain. Avidekel, a strain rich in CBD and with hardly any psychoactive ingredient, allows patients to benefit from the drug while being able to drive and to function at work.

Working with Hebrew University researchers, the farm has also developed a version in capsule form, which would make exporting the drug more practical, should the law allow it.

CONTINUE READING PAGE 2….